Human eye

From Anthroposophy

The two eyes in the human physical body are organs for the visual process of perception and the human sense of sight.

Aspects

  • the physiology of the eye is described in detail in 1922-12-13-GA348
  • spiritual scientific perspective: form and functioning
    • the eye consists of a socket, a hollow cavity or pocket in the physical body, and something that fills it and makes up the sense organ. This pocket with filling relates to the zodiac, the pocket form relates to the planetary sphere. (1921-11-05-GA208)
    • the selfless eye as a bay for the activity of the gods
      • the eye is transparent and selflessly incorporated in our organism so Man can use it for external vision (1922-02-12-GA210)
      • In the eye the outside world penetrates into the organism as if through a bay, Man is not engaged in his own activity, but it is the activity of the gods (1921-11-06-GA208)
    • two eyes required for conscious vision experience (1922-10-20-GA218)
    • In its more inward parts the eye is a metamorphosed ear, enveloped from without by a metamorphosed larynx (1919-12-31-GA320)
  • colour of the eyes, and link with blood circulation, hair colour, and evolution (1922-12-13-GA348)
  • evolutionary aspects
    • Goethe's saying “The eye has been formed by the light for the light" as Man's organs have been formed by his environment, out of his environment. Without light the eye could never have developed.
    • the physical sense organs were created on Old Saturn as part of the spiritual layout of Man's physical body, however the eye was embued with life by the SoF, through sunlight that fell upon it from without, it acquired inner life on Old Moon and became an organ of perception and consciousness (1910-08-23-GA122, see The eye is formed by the light for the light)
    • the senses evolve, the Greeks were blind to the colour blue (1920-03-20-GA198)
  • lack of vision
    • cataract: The eye with a cataract can no longer see as it is darkened within itself. A cataract comes about when the physical matter of the eye makes itself independent so that it dresses itself up in physical matter which is not transparent (1922-02-12-GA210)
    • blindness: in a blind person the eyes are still there in the socket, including muscles that control eye movement, and influence the entire nervous system. The lack is vision happens when something is wrong internally, especially with the optic nerve (1922-12-13-GA348)

Illustrations

Lecture coverage and references

1909-10-26-GA115

When an organ is to be created in which not a conscious but a subconscious reaction to an external impression is to take place, it would have to be built in a similar way. Again there must be a sheath and something like a blood vessel membrane against the back. The spinal cord fluid must dry up and the whole brain mass be pushed back to make room for a subconscious thought activity undisturbed by a nervous system. Were the nerve substance not pushed back, thinking would take place there; when it is pushed back, no thinking can take place. Thus an external impression is first digested by subconscious thinking on the part of those portions not interlaced by the nervous system, and only later does it penetrate to the instrumentality of sentience, feeling and conscious thought.

The result of this pushing back of the brain, so to speak, to the rear wall is that the brain has become an eye.

The eye is a small brain so worked over by our spirit that the nerve substance proper is pushed back to the rear wall of the eye and becomes the retina.

That is the way nature's architects work. A single plan governs in building really all of the sense organs; it is merely modified in the case of each organ as occasion demands. At bottom, all sense organs are small brains formed in different ways, and the brain is a sense organ of a higher order.

1919-08-23-GA293

When the living will, present in Man as germ, is turned to the external world, it experiences laws very different from those connected with death. .. What brings us into contact with the external world through the senses — including the whole range of the twelve senses — has not the nature of cognition, but rather of will.

Man of today has lost all perception of this. He therefore considers it childish when he reads in Plato that actually sight comes about by the stretching forth of a kind of prehensile pair of arms from the eyes to the objects. These prehensile arms cannot of course be perceived by means of the senses; but that Plato was conscious of them is proof that he had penetrated into the supersensible world.

Actually, looking at things involves the same process as taking hold of things, only it is more delicate. For example, when you take hold of a piece of chalk this is a physical process exactly like the spiritual process that takes place when you send the etheric forces from your eyes to grasp an object in the act of sight. If people of the present day had any power of observation, they would be able to deduce these facts from observing natural phenomena.

If, for example, you look at a horse's eyes, which are directed outwards, you will get the feeling that the horse, simply through the position of his eyes, has a different attitude to his environment from the human being. I can show you the causes of this most clearly by the following hypothesis: imagine that your two arms were so constituted that it was quite impossible for you to bring them together in front, so that you could never take hold of yourself. Suppose you had to remain in the position of “Ah” in Eurythmy and could never come to “0,” that, through some resisting force, it were impossible for you by stretching your arms forward to bring them together in front. Now the horse is in this situation with respect to the super-sensible arms of his eyes: the arm of his right eye can never touch the arm of his left eye. But the position of Man's eyes is such that he can continually make these two super-sensible arms of his eyes touch one another. This is the basis of our sensation of the I — a super-sensible sensation. If we had no possibility at all of bringing left and right into contact; or if the touching of left and right meant as little as it does with animals, who never rightly join their fore-feet, in prayer for instance, or in any similar spiritual exercise — if this were the case we should not be able to attain this spiritualised sensation of our own self.

What is of paramount importance in the sensations of eye and ear is not so much the passive element, it is the activity, i.e. how we meet the outside world in our will. Modern philosophy has often had an inkling of some truth, and has then invented all kinds of words, which, however, usually show how far one is from a real comprehension of the matter. For example, the Localzeichen of Lotze's philosophy exhibit a trace of this knowledge that the will is active in the senses. But our lower sense organism, which clearly shows its connection with the metabolic system in the senses of touch, taste and smell, is indeed closely bound up with the metabolic system right into the higher senses — and the metabolic system is of a will nature.

1919-12-24-GA320

Now if you want to consider for yourselves, how you will best understand it, you need only think for instance of how differently your own etheric body is inserted into your muscles and into your eyes. Into a muscle it is so inserted as to blend with the functions of the muscle; not so into the eye. The eye being very isolated, here the etheric body is not inserted into the physical apparatus in the same way, but remains comparatively independent. Consequently, the astral body can come into very intimate union with the portion of the etheric body that is in the eye. Inside the eye our astral body is more independent, and independent in a different way than in the rest of our physical organization.

Let this be the part of the physical organization in a muscle, and this the physical organization of the eye. To describe it: our astral body is inserted into both, but in a very different way.

  • Into the muscle it is so inserted that it goes through the same space as the physical bodily part and is by no means independent.
  • In the eye too it is inserted: here however it works independently.

The space is filled by both, in both cases, but in the one case the ingredients work independently while in the other they do not. It is but half the truth to say that our astral body is there in our physical body. We must ask how it is in it, for it is in it differently in the eye and in the muscle. In the eye it is relatively independent, and yet it is in it, — no less than in the muscle. You see from this: ingredients can interpenetrate each other and still be independent. So too, you can unite light and dark to get grey; then they are interpenetrating like astral body and muscle. Or on the other hand light and dark can so interpenetrate as to retain their several independence; then they are interpenetrating as do the astral body and the physical organization in the eye. In the one instance, grey arises; in the other, colour.

  • When they interpenetrate like the astral body and the muscle, grey arises; whilst
  • when they interpenetrate like the astral body and the eye, colour arises, since they remain relatively independent in spite of being there in the same space.
1919-12-25-GA320

as the basis for understanding light and optics in the light course

.. we ought to begin with the activity of the eye from the very outset: we must be clear that the eye is an active organism.

Here is a model of it (figure). The human eye is in form like a kind of sphere, slightly compressed from front to back. Such is the eye-ball, seated in the bony cavity or orbit, and with a number of skins enveloping the inner portion. The cross section figure would be a right-hand eye.

  • If we removed the eye from the skull, making an anatomical preparation, the first thing we should encounter would be connective tissue and fatty tissue.
  • Then we should reach the first integument of the eye properly speaking — the so-called sclerotic and the transparent portion of it, the cornea.
  • This outermost integument is sinewy, of bony or cartilaginous consistency.
    • Towards the front it gets transparent, so that the light can penetrate into the eye.
    • A second layer enveloping the inner space of the eye is the so-called choroid, containing blood-vessels.
    • Thirdly we get the inner-most layer, the retina so-called, which is continued into the optic nerve as you go farther in into the skull.

Herewith we have enumerated the three integuments of the eye.

  • And now behind the cornea — embedded in the ciliary muscle — is a kind of lens. The lens is carried by a muscle known as the ciliary muscle. In front is the transparent cornea, between which and the lens is the so-called aqueous humour.

Thus when the light gets into the eye it first passes through the transparent cornea, then through the aqueous humour and then through this lens which is inherently movable by means of muscles. From the lens onward the light then reaches what is commonly known as the vitreous body or vitreous humour, filling the entire space of the eye. The light therefore goes through the transparent cornea, through the aqueous humour, the lens itself and the vitreous humour and from thence reaches the retina, which is in fact a ramification of the optic nerve that then goes on into the brain, This thereforewould be a diagrammatic picture of the essential parts of the eye, embedded as it is in its cavity within the bony skull.

Examining the contents of this fluid that is between the lens and the cornea through which the light first has to pass, we find it very like any ordinary liquid taken from the outer world. At this place in the human body therefore — in the liquid or aqueous humour of the eye, between the lens and the outer cornea, — a man in his bodily nature is quite of a piece with the outer world. The lens too is to a high degree “objective” and unalive.

Not so when we go on to the vitreous body, filling the interior of the eye and bordering on the retina. Of this we can no longer say that it is like any external body or external fluid. In the vitreous humour there is decided vitality, there is life. Truth is, the farther back we go into the eye, the more life do we find. In the aqueous humour we have a quite external and objective kind of fluid. The lens too is still external. Inside the vitreous body on the other hand we find inherent vitality. This difference, between what is contained in this more outward portion of the eye and what is there in the more contained parts, also reveals itself in another circumstance. Tracing the comparative development of the eye from the lower animals upward, we find that the external fluid or aqueous humour and the lens grow not from within outward but by the forming of new cells from the surrounding and more peripheral cells. I must conceive the forming of the lens rather in this way. The tissue of the lens, also the aqueous humour in the anterior part of the eye, are formed from neighbouring organs, not from within outward; whilst from within the vitreous body grows out to meet them. This is the noteworthy thing. In fact the nature of the outer light is here at work, bringing about that transformation whereby the aqueous humour and the lens originate. To this the living being then reacts from within, thrusting outward a more living, a more vital organ, namely the vitreous body. Notably in the eye, formations whose development is stimulated from without, and others stimulated from within, meet one-another in a very striking way.

This is the first peculiarity of the eye, and there is also another, scarcely less remarkable. The expanse of the retina which you see here is really the expanded optic nerve. Now the peculiar thing is that at the very point of entry of the optic nerve the eye is insensitive; there it is blind. The optic nerve thence spreads out, and in an area which for the right-hand eye is a little to the right of the point of entry the retina is most sensitive of all. We may begin by saying that it is surely the nerve which senses the light. Yet it is insensitive to light precisely at its point of entry. If it is really the nerve that senses the light we should expect it to do so more intensely at the point of entry, but it does not.

That this whole structure and arrangement of the eye is full of wisdom (from the side of Nature), you may also tell from the following fact. During the day when you look at the objects around you — in so far as you have healthy eyes — they will appear to you more or less sharp and clear, or at least so that their sharpness of outline is fully adequate for orientation. But in the morning when you first awaken you sometimes see the outlines of surrounding objects very indistinctly, as if enveloped with a little halo. The rim of a circle for example will be indistinct and nebular when you have just awakened in the morning. What is it due to? It is due to there being two different kinds of things in our eye, namely the vitreous body and the lens. In origin, as we have seen, they are quite different. The lens is formed more from without, the vitreous body more from within. While the lens is rather unalive, the vitreous body is full of vitality. Now in the moment of awakening they are not yet adapted to one-another. The vitreous body still tries to picture the objects to us in the way it can; the lens in the way it can. We have to wait till they are well adapted to each other. You see again how deeply mobile everything organic is. The whole working of it depends on this. First the activity is differentiated into that of the lens and the vitreous body respectively. From what is thus differentiated the activity is thereupon composed and integrated; so then the one has to adapt itself to the other.

1919-12-31-GA320

If we have recognized the facts, this is what we shall see:

Consider what is left of the eye if I first take away the vitreous body and also the whole or at least part of what is here spread out — the retina (Figure IIIf). If I were able to remove all this, what would be left would be the ciliary muscle, the lens and the external liquid — the aqueous humour. What kind of organ would that represent?

It would be an organ, my dear Friends, which I could never compare with the ear if I were thinking realistically, but only with the larynx. It is not a metamorphosis of the ear; it is a metamorphosis of the larynx. Only to touch upon the coarsest aspect: just as the muscles of the larynx take hold of the vocal chords, widening or narrowing the aperture between them, so do the ciliary muscles with the lens. The lens is inherently mobile and they take hold of it.

So far I should have separated-out what is larynx-like, so to speak, for the ethereal, even as the larynx is for the air. And if I now reinsert first the retina, then the vitreous body, and then for certain animals the pecten, which man only has etherically, or the falciform process, (blood-bearing organs, continued into the eye in certain lower animals), — this part alone I shall be able truly to relate to the ear. Such things as the expanding portions of the pecten, these I may rightly compare to what expands in the ear, — in the labyrinth and so on. Thus, at one level in the human body I have the eye. In its more inward parts it is a metamorphosed ear, enveloped from without by a metamorphosed larynx. If we take larynx and ear together as a single whole, we have a metamorphosed eye upon another level.

What I have now been pointing out will lead us presently along a most important path. We can have no real knowledge of these things if we relate them falsely to begin with by simply placing eye and ear side by side, whereas in truth the ear can only be compared to the part of the eye behind the lens — the inner and more vital part — while that which reaches farther forward and is more muscular in character must be related to the larynx. This of course makes the theory of metamorphosis more difficult. It is no use looking for metamorphoses in crude, external ways. You must be able to see into the inner dynamic qualities, for these are real.

1920-03-20-GA198

One can certainly understand this prejudice, this assumption that the world was always seen in the way we see it today. For those who want proof in such matters, however, even external facts show clearly that the Greeks themselves — so we need not go far back in man's evolution — saw surrounding nature differently from how we do. To spiritual science with its spiritual vision this is perfectly clear, but the knowledge, thus brought to the surface so vividly through spiritual vision, can be arrived at also through physical facts, if we look, for instance, in Greek literature and notice the use of the Greek word chloros. By this they meant green, but curiously enough they used the same word for golden honey and the golden leaves in autumn; it was also applied to the gold of resin. And the Greeks had a word to describe the darkness of hair, which they used as well when speaking of lapis lazuli, that blue stone. No-one can assume the Greeks had blue hair;. So there is ample proof of such things, from which it can be seen that, as a people, the Greeks were simply incapable of distinguishing yellow from green, and that they did not perceive blue as the colour we do but saw everything tinged with the vividness of red or gold. We find all this confirmed by a Roman writer who speaks of how the Greek painters only used four colours — black, white, red, yellow.

Judging from our present theory of colour we must say: The Greeks were essentially blind to the colour blue; they did not see the blue in green but only the yellow. The surrounding world had, for them, a much more fiery aspect, for they saw it all with a reddish tinge. The metamorphoses of human evolution thus affect even the way in which a man sees, and as we have said this is capable of external proof. To spiritual vision it is perfectly clear that the whole colour-spectrum of the Greeks was on the red side — that they had little feeling for the blue and violet. For them the violet was much redder than we see it. Were we, according to our present visual conception, to paint the landscape as a Greek saw it, we should have to use quite different colours from those we ordinarily do. They had no knowledge of what we see as nature, and the nature they saw is an unknown world to us. The evolution of mankind progresses indeed by metamorphoses. The point is that the time when intellectualism arose and men became inclined to meditation — the Greeks had little inclination that way — they lived objectively in the world of nature — was the time when a feeling was acquired for the dark colours, the blue, the blue-violet. It was not only the inner nature of the soul that was changed, but also what passed over fror the soul into the senses.

You can therefore say that today, in this fifth postAtlantean period, we are indeed different men in our sense-faculties from the characteristic men of the fourth period, the Greco-Latin people. This is all connected with what has been said before. During the time when spiritual forces still arose from the emotions, from sympathies and antipathies, even from the body in its hunger, thirst, its satiation, these spiritual forces poured into the sense-organs. And these spiritual forces, streaming up from the lower bodily nature to pour themselves into the sense-organs, are those which play the chief part for the eyes in giving life to the various shades of yellow and red, enabling these colours to be perceived. The time has now come when the reverse is the most important task for mankind. The Greeks were still organised in such a way that their beautiful world-concep tion was mediated through their senses, into which flowed their organic life permeated by spirit. In the course of centuries this spirit-filled organic life has been suppressed by men. Out of our soul, out of our spirit, we must infuse it with fresh life; we must acquire the faculty for making our way into soul and spirit — as spiritual science enables us to do. But acquiring this faculty through spiritual science we shall take the opposite direction. In the case of the Greeks the streams came from the body to pour into the eye (see red in diagram I); the reverse must take place with us; we have so to develop soul and spirit that the streams (see blue in diagram I) from the soul and spirit reach the human organisation; and we must receive these streams in the other senses as well as in the eye. The way for mankind in future must be in the reverse direction to that of the middle of the fourth post-Atlantean culture-epoch. Then the reflective man will once again become a knower of the spirit, but in another form, because of what comes to him from above. We have grown to be sensitive to the blue side of the spectrum.

If I wanted to make a diagram L should have to draw it in the following way: The Greek was susceptible to red, lived in red and was familiar with the red part of the spectrum (see left of diagram II). We, however, must grow more and more accustomed to this part (see right of diagram II). But by doing so, and in that we find blue and blue-violet increasingly attractive, our sense-organs have necessarily to undergo change,

The sense-organs must become quite different in their finer structure from how they were. What then gradually pours into the sense-organs in a natural way, develops through the eye, for example. Imagination; through the ear. Inspiration; through the sense of warmth, Intuition. Thus there must be developed:

through the eye: Imagination,

through the ear: Inspiration,

through the warmth-sense: Intuition.

In the course of human evolution the finer structure of manes organisation goes through a metamorphosis, becomes different.

1920-05-14-GA201

Let us examine the close relationship, to which spiritual science will give the key, between the process taking place within the eye, and the processes of smell and taste — particularly of the latter. Let us compare the ramifications of the nerve of taste into neighbouring tissues, with the optic nerve within the eyeball. The relationship is so close that we could hardly avoid looking for an analogy with the process of taste, if we wanted an inward characterisation of the process of sight. Of course the nerve of taste is not continued into anything like the highly intricate structure of the eye, which is situated in front of the retina, and therefore sight is in many ways different.

But what begins as the process of sight, behind the wonderful instrument of the physical eye, has a close inner relationship to the process of taste. I mean that in the act of seeing, we are performing a transformed tasting, metamorphosed because the organic processes of taste are supplemented by the processes due to the intricate structure of the eye. In each one of our senses, we must distinguish between what our organism brings to meet the outer world and what the outer world brings to meet our organism. We must look at the inner process that takes place when the blood runs into the choroid of the eye, where the organism works into the eye. This process is more pronounced in certain animals, which not only have our ocular apparatus but the pecten and the xiphoid processes as well. Now the latter are organs of the blood circulation thrusting the ego forward into the interior of the eye, whereas with us, the ego recedes leaving the eyeball inwardly free. But by means of the blood, our whole organism works through the eye into the whole process of vision. And there, within the process of vision, the transmuted tasting is present. Therefore we may call sight metamorphosed tasting. And in our diagram 16, we have to put sight as metamorphosed tasting above taste and smell.

The processes of taste and of sight correspond to something external that cooperates with something internal. Thus the, process of taste must metamorphose itself upwards; sight is the upper metamorphosis of taste. Now there must also be a complementary downward metamorphosis of the process of taste, diving down into the lower bodily sphere. In the visual process we raise ourselves to the external world; the eye is enclosed in a bony socket, it belongs to the outside; it is a very external organ, built in accordance with the external world. Now we turn to the opposite direction and imagine the metamorphosis of the process of taste downwards into the depths of the organism. Here we come to the opposite pole of the sense of sight; we find, as it were, what corresponds in the lower part to the visual process in the upper part of the body. And this will throw much light upon our further inquiries.

In tracing the metamorphosis of the process of taste downwards, we find the digestive function.

You can only come to an inner understanding of this function, by recognising it, on the one hand, as a metamorphosed continuation of the process of taste, and on the other, as the complete polar opposite of the exteriorised process of sight. For the exteriorised visual sense enables you to recognise what in the outer world around you corresponds to digestion, of what digestion is an organic interiorisation. On the other hand, you become aware to what extent digestion must be called akin to the process of taste. It is not possible to understand the more intimate activities of our organism, in so far as they focus in the digestive process, unless you visualise that entire process as follows: good digestion is founded on capacity to taste with the whole alimentary tract, and bad digestion results from an incapacity of the whole tract to carry out this function of tasting.

1921-11-05-GA208

Consider your eye sockets: two pockets coming in from the outside. Consider your nostrils: two pockets. And finally consider the whole of your digestive tract from mouth to stomach. It is possible to arrive at this if you let a pocket develop, starting at the mouth, which goes all the way down. (Fig. 30).

You always get the pocket form added to the spherical form when the transition has to be made from plant to animal form.

We can come to understand the pocket form if we lift our eyes from the Earth to the planetary system. You will find it easy to see that the Earth seeks to give its own form to everything that lives on it. But a planet acting from outside counteracts the Earth forces and makes pockets in the spherical form given by the earth. The different creatures of the animal kingdom are provided with such sacs, or pockets, in a wide variety of ways. Consider the planets and the different ways in which they act. Saturn makes a different kind of inroad than Jupiter or Mars. The lion is equipped with a different kind of inner sac-nature for the simple reason that the planetary influences on it are different from those on the camel, for instance. So in this case we have sacs being formed.

But in animals—and this means above all in higher animals, for the situation is different with the lower animals—and also in human beings something arises which does not merely come from the planetary realm, so that we are able to say: The essence of both animal and human nature is to have more than just the pocket form. This would be the case if there were only the planets and if the firmament of fixed stars had no influence. Something is added to the pocket form. In many situations people are satisfied when they have not just a pocket but something in it. And it is indeed the case that it is the essence of the animal aspect of human nature to have a pocket with something to fill it. So we have a spherical form with a pocket and the pocket is filled. (Fig 31)

You only need to look at the sense organs, the eye. You have first of all a pocket, which is the eye socket, and then something to fill it. And this fulfilment, which occurs particularly in the sense organs, relates to the zodiac just as the pocket form relates to the planetary sphere. Human beings have the most complete animal organization in this respect, which is also why they have twelve pockets with their fillings, though this is disguised in all kinds of ways. This is why I had to list twelve sense organs in my Anthroposophy.

...

Thus we are able to say: The polyhedral or physical nature of human beings is connected with the moon, their vegetable or etheric nature with the earth, their astral nature, which would produce the pocket form, with the planetary sphere, and the filling of the pocket with the zodiac.

Physical nature                                             Polyhedral                                          Moon

Plant nature                                                  Spherical form                                   Earth

Animal nature                                               Pocket form                                       Planetary sphere

Animal aspect of human nature             Pocket with filling                             Zodiac

1921-11-06-GA208

What becomes of a negative opinion when it enters into the sphere of the senses?

It becomes a situation where we perceive nothing. In terms of the most notable form of sensory perception, vision, we may call it a situation in which we see nothing and experience darkness: Experience of darkness. A positive judgement on the other hand means experience of light. We might of course just as well speak of experience of dumbness, experience of sound, etc. We could put this into words for every one of the twelve senses.

We may now ask ourselves what kind of activity we have in the sphere of the senses. We have considered organic activity, activity of the soul, and activity of mind and spirit. The last of these is entirely image-based, but still our own activity. The processes which occur between our senses and the outside world, on the other hand, really are no longer our own activity, for the world is influencing us.

It is perfectly possible to draw the eye schematically, making it an independent entity, as it were. (Fig 38)

What happens in the eye is that the outside world penetrates into the organism as if through a bay. Here we are not engaged in our own activity in the world, but our position in the world is such that we may say: It is the activity of the gods.

This is active throughout the whole world around us which in darkness inclines towards negative judgement and in light inclines towards positive judgement. Wise minds of the second post-Atlantean age had a particularly strong feeling for this activity of the gods influencing human beings in their relationship to the world. They had a powerful feeling for God in the light and God in the dark. God in the light is the divine principle with luciferic bias, God in the dark with ahrimanic bias. This is how people of the ancient Persian civilization experienced the world around them. To them, the sun represented that outside world, Sun as source of divine Light: second post-Atlantean age.

1922-02-12-GA210

Consider the human eye. What must be its constitution if we are to be able to see?

A cataract comes about when the physical matter of the eye makes itself independent so that it dresses itself up in physical matter which is not transparent. The eye must be selfless, it must be selflessly incorporated in our organism if we are to use it for seeing; it must be transparent.

Our organism is most certainly not transparent for our will. As I have often said, we can think that we want to raise our hand. We form the thought: I want to raise my hand. But what then happens in our organism as this thought slips over into it and performs the action — this is as obscure for us as are the events which take place between going to sleep and waking up. The next thing we see is our raised hand, another perception. We perceive something at the beginning and we perceive something at the end, but what lies in between is a state of sleep. Our will unfolds in the unconscious just as much as the events of sleep unfold in the unconscious. So we can rightly say that for ordinary consciousness our organism is as untransparent as regards perceiving how the will functions as is an eye afflicted with cataract.

Of course I do not mean that the human organism is ill because of this. For ordinary, everyday life it has to be untransparent. This is its normal condition. But it cannot remain so for higher knowledge; it has to become transparent, it must become transparent for soul and spirit. This is achieved by means of the will exercises. Our organism then becomes transparent. We then no longer look down into something indeterminate when our will works, for our organism becomes as selfless as the eye, which is set selflessly into our organism so that we may perceive external objects properly. Just as the eye is in itself transparent, so our organism becomes transparent with regard to the element of spirit and soul; our whole organism becomes a sense organ. Thus, with regard to the will, we perceive the spiritual beings as objectively as we perceive external physical objects through our external eyes. Our will exercises are not aimed at making our body rigid in order to free our element of spirit and soul. They are aimed at developing the element of soul and spirit to such an extent that it becomes capable of seeing through the physical body. This is the main point. We see into the spiritual world only if we look through ourselves. We see external objects with our eyes only by looking through our eyes. And we do not see into the spiritual world directly, but only by looking through ourselves.

1922-10-20-GA218

Take the eye. On one side you have the optic nerve, on the other side are blood vessels (diagram 5, red).

  • Since the blood vessels spread, you have the metabolic-limb system in the eye.
  • Through the optic nerve being there, you have the sense-nerve organism in the eye.

Now look into the eye. There exists a relation of one to four among the processes in the optic nerve, the retina and the thrust of, the blood beat. Inside the eye things are continuously vibrating into each other, whose rhythms are related as one to four. On this vibrating into each other of two different rhythms the inner processes of the eye are based. What takes place in the arterial skin of the eye wants to dissolve; already in the eye, what wants to consolidate in the nerve of the eye. The nerve of the eye wants to create continuously forms with contours in the eye. The arterial skin with the blood flowing there wants to dissolve this continuously.

It is not as coarse as one generally presents it; instead it is so that the arteries of the blood have their own course and the veins join in again (diagram red), so that not one also loins the other. In the eye especially, the artery runs so that the blood flows out so to say, and is there only then absorbed in turn by the vein, so that a slight flowing off and a reabsorbtion comes about in the eye.

It is an entirely false and coarse view, if one believes that arterial blood immediately goes over there into the veinous blood. It is not so. A fine flowing out and again an absorbtion takes place. In what takes place as the outflowing vibrates the rhythm of circulation and in the nerve adjacent to it, the rhythm of the respiration vibrates really in these two rhythms which hit into each other. Imagine these two rhythms were alike, then we would not see.

Imagine you run along next to a wagon. If you run just as fast as the wagon, you will not notice the wagon. But when you walk four times slower and yet hold the wagon, then you will notice the pull. The wagon will go on and you will have to hold back if you want to slow it down. And so it is inside the eye. That is the function of the optic nerve which wants to hold back the rhythm which is four times faster. In the arresting is formed what then is perception, which appears as perception of sight, just as you notice the wagon if you run times slower; if you run in the same speed you will not feel it.

And you yourself, how do you experience yourself as an I? You experience yourself because your head runs four times slower than the rest of your organism. That is the inner sensing of one's self, the inner perception of one's self, the running after the tempo of the limb-metabolic organism with what is function of the head.

Numberless cases of illnesses in people are based on the following; a certain measure of balance exists for every organism between four and one. One can always say: according to the way a person is orgainized a certain measure of balance is there. Of course, it never is exactly one to four, but there are all kinds of possible conditions; in this way people are individualized. But for every human individuality a certain relationship exists. If that is disturbed and if conditions would arise, by which the relation is then not one to four, but one to 4 1/7 the dissolving force then works too strongly, then the person cannot become a statue sufficiently. You only have to remember certain forms of illness, where man dissolves too much in himself, and you have the type of such kind of illness.

The other condition can come about just as well. Then those phenomena appear, which present cramp-like conditions. When the astral forces vibrate too fast through the etheric and physical organism, when the astral forces quiver through too fast and do not approach slowly enough, the cramp-like phenomena come about.

1921-11-05-GA208

.. look at the sense organs, the eye .. you firtst have a pocket or eye socket, and then something to fill it .. this fulfillment, which occurs particularly in the sense organs, relates to the zodiac just as the pocket form relates to the planetary sphere .. we have twelve pockets with their fillings, though this is disguised in all kinds of ways .. hence twelve sense organs.

and goes on to describe that the generation of the pockets forms maps to the influences of the planetary spheres, whereas the filling of the pocket maps to the zodiac

with animals the heavens only have significance as far as the zodiac, meaning everything which lies within it. Anything outside holds no significance for the animal. ...

.. what lies beyond the zodiac has significance for human beings, for it influences the filling of the pockets.

For the animal we have to say: everything which lies inside the zodiac influences the filling of the pockets. We therefore have to go into the zodiac itself and then we are above to explain how the filling of the pockets presents itself.

With humans, we have to go beyond the zodiac if we want to explain what goes on in the sphere of the senses. Human beings go beyond the zodiac, animals do not.

1922-12-13-GA348

On the question: Why are people with blond hair are becoming increasingly scarce?

Your question fits quite well into our discussions, and I can consider it after I describe the human eye for you, as I promised to do earlier. We have already studied the ear; now we shall look at the eye. You may have noticed that blond hair is closely linked with blue eyes; as a rule, blonds have blue eyes. Your question relates to this matter, which you will understand fully when we examine the eye.

Eyes have great significance, indeed, for the human being.

[blindness]

It might be assumed that people born blind do not benefit at all from the eyes; nevertheless, they are still part of them, and they have the function not only of seeing but also of influencing the entire nervous system, inasmuch as this originates in the brain. The eyes are still there in one who is born blind even though they cannot see. It is placed in the socket but something is wrong internally, especially with the optic nerve. In addition, the muscles that control eye movements exist also in a blind person, and actually continuously influence the nervous system. Thus, the eye is, indeed, one of the most important organs of our body.

[Eye description]

The eye, which is really like a miniature world, is placed in a cavity formed by the skull bones. You might tell yourself that it is something like a tiny world. The optic nerve fills out the retina and terminates in the brain, which I shall outline here (sketching). So, if this is the eye seen in profile and sitting in the eye-socket, then here on the right is a canal through which the optic nerve passes. The eyeball lies buried in fatty tissue and is surrounded by bony walls. Attached to it are six ocular muscles that extend back into the bony walls of the socket. These bones are directly behind the upper jawbone.

In the anterior part of the eye is a completely transparent, clear tissue through which light passes. That the tissue looks black is an illusion; in reality, you see through the eye to its rear wall; you are looking through the transparent skin all the way to the back of the eye. The round blackness you see is the pupil, which looks black because the back of the eyeball is that colour. It is like looking through the window of a dark room; if you think the window itself is black, you are mistaken. The interior of the eye is completely transparent. This tissue is tough and opaque here and transparent in front. Within it and toward the rear is another layer of tissue possessing a network of fine, delicate blood vessels, which thicken here. Around the pupil is the iris, which in some people is blue and in others gray, green, brown or black.

Between the iris and the transparent tissue is a transparent fluid. Where you see the round blackness is the transparent skin, the cornea; behind that is the anterior chamber. It consists of living fluid and is shaped somewhat like a little glass lens. The actual lens of the eye is located here, where these delicate blood vessels come together and where the iris is formed. This structure, called the crystalline lens, also contains a living fluid. Its outer cover is transparent, permitting you to see the blackness behind it. Unlike a glass lens, it is mobile; it moves especially when you need to focus on something nearby. In that event, it is shaped like this (sketching), thick in the middle. When you need to look into the distance, it is bent like this, thin in the middle.

Next to the iris are delicate little muscles, which we tense to make the lens thicker when looking at something close up, or relax to make the lens thinner. A person's living habits also affect the lenses. If you often use your eyes for close work, like reading or writing, gradually the lenses become permanently thick in the middle, and you become near-sighted. If you are a hunter, however, frequently looking into the distance, then the lenses become thin in the middle and you will become far-sighted. Another thing to consider is that in youth the tiny muscles located in and around the iris are still strong and elastic, and we can accommodate to our field of vision. In old age they become slack. This explains why many people become far-sighted with age, but this problem can be corrected. If a person's lenses are too thick in the middle, glasses are prescribed with lenses that are concave. These will compensate for the thickness of the eye's lenses. Some people even have a twofold problem, needing one set of glasses for clear distance vision and another set for close up. If the lenses of the eyes are too thin, the glasses will have convex lenses. Their thickness is added to the lens of the eye and compensates for the defect. You could say that we are able to see because we can correct the defect of the lens. The lens in our eye is like that of our glasses: near- and far-sighted. But the lens in our glasses stays the same, while that in the eye is living and can adjust and accommodate itself.

Behind the lens is also something like a living fluid. It, too, is completely transparent, permitting light to pass through everywhere. This gelatinous and crystalline substance completely fills the interior of the eyeball. So here in front is something like transparent “hard water,” the aqueous humour; next comes the transparent lens, and then comes the vitreous humour, which is also transparent. The optic nerve enters the eye here, and reaches approximately to here.

This optic nerve is extremely complicated. I have drawn it as if the main nerve fibre simply divides here, but there's more to it than this. There are actually four layers of nerves surrounding the vitreous humour. This is the outer layer of the nerve (sketching), which acts like a strong mirror. When light enters the eye and hits the layers of the retina, it is reflected everywhere. It does not go into this (probably referring to the nerve canal) but stays in the eye. The outer layer acts like the wall of a mirror and reflects the light. A second layer of nerves intensifies this reflecting capacity. As we have said, the nerve that lines our eyeball consists of four layers. The outermost layer and the second outer layer reflect back all the light into the interior sphere. Thus, within the vitreous humour we have actually only reflected light. A third layer of nerves consists of the same substance that makes up the gray matter of our brain. The outer parts of our brain are gray matter, not white. Another “skin” constitutes the fourth layer. You see, the vitreous humour is placed within a complicated “sack.” This enables all the light that penetrates into the interior of the eyeball to be reflected within the vitreous humour and to live therein.

What we have in our eye is something that looks like a complicated physical apparatus. What is it for? Well, imagine that a Man is standing somewhere. When you look at him, an inverted picture is produced in your eye because of the lens and vitreous humour. So, if a man stands there (sketching), you have a small image of him in the eye, but owing to this apparatus, it is an image that stands on its head. The eye is just like a camera in this respect; it is much like a photographic apparatus in which the object photographed appears in an image upside down. That also happens in the eye; since it is a mirroring device, when light enters, it is reflected. Thus, in the eye we have the image of a little man. Even with all our modern sophisticated machinery, something like the human eye can certainly not be manufactured. We must admit that it is altogether extraordinary and marvellous.

Now, picture to yourselves the starry heaven; form an image of the light-filled sphere around the earth, and then reduce this picture until it is quite small. What you then have is the interior of the human eye. The human eye is actually a world in miniature, and the reflections in the eye resemble myriad surrounding stars. You see, these outer walls do not reflect evenly. There are many tiny bodies, which, like miniature stars, radiate light toward the centre. If we were as small as the image of the human being in the eye and could examine it from inside, its interior would seem infinitely large. Our impression would be the same as when on earth we look up to the glittering stars at night. It is indeed so. It is interesting that the eye is like a miniature world and that the tiny human image produced in the eye by reflections would have the same feeling, if it were conscious, we have at night under a starry sky. It is really quite interesting!

Well, I said, “... if that image possessed consciousness.” But if we did not possess our eyes, we would not be able to view the starry night. We see the night sky and its brilliant stars only because we have eyes; if we close them, we do not see the stars. Nor could we see the starry firmament if the eye did not already contain within it a miniature world. We say to ourselves that this miniature universe really signifies a big world. This is something that must be clearly understood.

Imagine that a man shows you a small photograph of himself or another person. You will realize that even though it is small it was taken of a regular-sized man. You are not encountering the actual person in this picture and, likewise in the eye; in reality you have only this tiny miniature starry sky within you. You then say to yourself, “What I have here before me is the `photograph' of the immense starry sky.” You do this all the time. You have within you the little starry sky of the eye, and then you tell yourself, “This is the photograph of the great starry sky.” You actually always picture the real starry sky from the miniature firmament in your eye; you conceive of the universe by means of this picture within. What you really experience is the infinitesimal firmament in the eye.

[Two eyes]

Now you might say, “Yes, but this would be true only if we possessed just one eye like the cyclops, whereas we have two eyes.” Well, why do we have two? Try this: Look at something with only one eye. It will appear to be painted on a backdrop. We do not have two images of an object, which we see in proportion and in the right dimensions only because we possess two eyes. Seeing with both eyes is like grabbing your right hand with your left. We are conscious of ourselves because from childhood we have been used to saying “I” to ourselves. The little word, “I,” would not be in the language if our right side were not aware of our left. We would not be conscious of ourselves. We become so accustomed to the most important things that we take them as a matter of course. A hidebound philistine would say, “The question of why one says “I” to oneself does not interest me. It goes without saying that one says “I” to oneself!” Well, he is a narrow-minded and prosaic person. He does not realize that most subtle matters are based on the most complicated processes. He does not know that he became used to touching himself as a child, that is, touching his left hand with his right, and thus grew accustomed to saying “I” to himself.

This fact can be traced in human culture. If we go back to ancient times, to the days of the Old Testament, for instance, we find priests who — excuse me for voicing such a heretical opinion — often knew much more than the priests nowadays and who said, “We want to teach man self-awareness.” So they taught people to fold their hands. This is the origin of folding your hands. Man touched himself in order to find the strong ego within him and to develop his will. Things like this are not said today because they are not understood. Priests today simply tell members of the congregation to fold their hands in prayer; they do not give the meaning of this gesture because they themselves do not know it anymore.

When we see with our two eyes, we feel that what is there in the light is in fact spatial. If we had only one eye, everything would appear as if painted on the firmament. Our two eyes enable us to see things in three dimensions and to experience ourselves as standing within the centre of the world. In a good or bad sense, every man considers himself to be the centre of the world. Therefore, it is of great importance that we have two eyes.

Now, since it is so important for man to use his eyes for seeing, we overlook something else about them. We are not so ignorant in the case of the ear. I believe I have mentioned already that when we hear we also speak; that is, we ourselves produce what we hear. We can understand a spoken language only because of the Eustachian tube, which runs from the mouth into the ear. You surely know that children born deaf cannot speak either, and that people who are not taught to speak a language cannot understand it either. Special means must be used to gain an understanding of what has been heard.

It does indeed appear that seeing is the only purpose of the eye, but a child learns not only to see with its eyes but also to speak with them, even if we don't pay much attention to it. The language of the eyes is not as suitable for everyday use as is the language directed to the ears, but with it you can discover whether a person is telling a lie or the truth. If you are the least bit sensitive, you can discover in the way he looks at you whether or not he is telling you the truth. The eyes do speak, and the child learns to speak with them just as it does with its mouth.

In the language of the ear the larynx, with its function of uttering sounds is separated from it, and thus there are here two separate aspects. In the case of the language of the eye, there are muscles right within the organ and also around it. It is the muscles that make the eye into a kind of visible organ of speech. Whether we look somebody straight in the eye, or have a shifty look, depends on the muscles that surround the eyeball. In the case of the ear, it is as if it were contained within the larynx, as in fishes. In man the ear is separated from the larynx, but in fishes they are joined to form one organ. The act of speaking is separated from hearing, but with the eye it is as if the larynx with its muscles surrounded the ear. The eye is situated within its speech organ as if the ear were placed within the larynx. In humans it is like this (sketching). Here we have the larynx, the voice box, which goes down through the windpipe into the lungs and up into the palate. It enables us to speak. From the mouth we have a connection with the ear.

Now imagine that the larynx is not like it is in humans but that it spreads out much wider. Then we would have the broad larynx that Lucifer possesses in my wooden statue. The larynx is so large that the head fits in between, and it reaches up on both sides to surround the ear. With this organ we would both speak and hear. With the eye we do just that; we speak through the muscles that surround the eyeball, and through the eye we simultaneously see. So in some respects the eye is conceived like the ear, but in other respects it is, of course, quite different. This, then, is the purpose of the muscles I have drawn here.

We can say that we speak of what we know, and we consider those who say things of which they know nothing to be more or less fools. We say of such people that they are talking to themselves, shooting off their mouths. As a rule, however, sensible and rational people express what they know. We do not speak consciously with the eye, however, for we would have to be shrewd fellows, indeed, if we could consciously speak the language of the eyes. This process is unconscious and accompanies our other behaviour. The people in Southern Italy, for example, still speak of an “evil eye.” They still know that a person who has a certain look about him is false. They talk of an evil eye because they sense that the eye expresses the whole nature of a man without his being aware of it. This superstition in Southern Italy goes so far that some hang little charms or religious medals around their necks as protection from it.

So you see how marvellously the eye is formed. A person who studies the eye in this way simply cannot say that there is nothing of the soul in it. It is simply stupid and philistine to say that the eye has no element of the soul. People say that light penetrates through the pupil into the eye, passes through the lens into the vitreous humour, produces an image here on the retina, and then is transmitted into the brain. Modern science stops right there, or it might state further that the light in the brain is used to produce thoughts. This description gives rise to all sorts of nonsensical statements that lead to nothing.

In reality, the light does not reach the brain. I have explained how it is reflected in the eyeball as in a mirror. The light remains in the eye, and it is important to know that it stays there. The interior of the eyeball is like the illuminated starry expanse. The light remains within the eye and does not penetrate directly into the brain. If the light did enter the brain, we would not be able to see anything at all. We can see because it does not do so. Just imagine, gentlemen, that you are standing here in this room all by yourselves; there are no chairs, nothing but the walls. The room is completely illuminated within, but you see nothing. You know only that it is illuminated, but you can see no objects of any kind. If the brain were only filled with light, we would see nothing because it is not solely on account of light that we see. Everywhere the light is kept in the eye and illumines its interior. What does this mean? Well, imagine that we have a little box. I stand with my back to it; I have not seen it before. I must reach behind myself to be able to know that it is there. Likewise, when the eye is illuminated from within, I must first feel the light to know that it is there. I must first feel the light, and this is done with the soul. In other words, the apparatus of the eye produces something we can feel. The soul passes through the muscles and feels or senses the little man I have mentioned within the eye.

Every organ within the human being shows us that here we must say that the soul observes, feels or senses what is within. If we examine everything carefully, we discover the soul and the spirit everywhere, especially in the eye. After a while, we can get the feeling that we are sitting in front of a peephole here (referring to his eye). When I look at you, you appear within, but I form the conception that the image within is the person outside. This is how the eye works. Just imagine that it is a little peephole through which the soul forms the idea that what it observes is the vast world. We simply must recognize the soul's existence when we actually examine the matter.

[Colour of the eyes - and blood circulation]

Now, I said that here is the choroid (referring to his sketch of the eyeball). It contains tiny blood vessels and lies under the optic nerve and its network. The optic nerve does not reach all the way to the front of the eyeball but the choroid, with its muscles, does. It extends to the lens and actually holds it in place. Here, as I have mentioned, is the iris surrounding the black pupil, which is nothing but an aperture. The iris is quite complicated. I will draw it a little larger, as seen from the side. So here is the iris, attached to the ciliary muscle. The choroid and lens sit within, held in place by the iris.

Seen from the front, the iris has a front wall and a back wall. On the back wall are little coloured granules, which are microscopically small sacks.

  • In everyone they are filled with a blue substance, and this is what one sees in blue-eyed people. In their case, the front layer is transparent, so you see the back layer of the iris, which is filled with this blue substance. In a blue-eyed person you are really seeing the back wall of the iris; the front part is transparent.
  • Brown-eyed people have the same blue substance in the back layer of their iris, but they possess also brown granules in front of it. These cover up the blue ones so that all you see are the brown.
  • A black-eyed person has black granules. You see not the blue but the little black sacks.

It is the iris that causes a person's eyes to be blue, brown or black. The iris is always blue in back, and in blue-eyed persons it possesses no coloured substance at all in front; in brown-eyed and black-eyed people, it contains coloured granules in front that obscure the blue granules in back. Why is that?

Well, you see, these tiny little sacks are constantly being filled with blood and then emptied. The blood penetrates the tiny granules in minute amounts. In a blue-eyed person, they are constantly being filled with and emptied of a little blood. The same thing happens with brown- and black-eyed persons. The blood enters, deposits blue or black coloured substance, then leaves again and takes the coloured substance with it. This is a continual process.

Now, some people have a strong force in their blood that drives the substances from food all the way into the eyes. This gives them brown or black granules. Those with black granules are people whose organisms can drive the blood most strongly into the eyes; the substances from nourishment easily reach into the eyes. This is less the case with brown-eyed people. Their eyes are not so well-nourished, and a blue-eyed person's organism does not drive the nourishing substances far enough into the eyes to fill the front part of the iris with them. It remains transparent and all we can see is the back part. Thus, a person is blue-eyed because of the way all the substances circulate through his organism. If you observe such a blue-eyed person, you can say that he has less driving force in his circulation than one who is black-eyed.

Consider the Scandinavians. Much of the nourishment must be utilized in fighting off the surrounding cold. A Nordic man does not have enough energy left to drive the nourishment all the way into the eyes; his energy is needed to ward off the cold. Hence, he is blue-eyed. A man who is born in a warm, tropical climate has in his blood the driving force to push the nourishing substances into his eyes. In the temperate zones it is an individual matter whether a man possesses more or less inner energy.

[link with hair colour]

This also affects the colour of hair. A person with strong forces drives food substances all the way into his hair, making it brown or black.

A person with less driving force does not push these substances all the way into the hair, and thus it remains light. So we see that blue eyes and blond hair are related. The one who drives the food substances forcefully through his body gets dark hair and eyes; the one who does it less vigorously gets light hair and eyes. This can be understood from what I have told you.

[Evolutionary perspective]

When you take into consideration the most important aspects, you can find meaning for everything. The earth on which we live was young when it brought forth those giant megatheria and ichthyosauria that I have described for you. The earth was once young. Now it is past its prime; it is growing older and some day will perish from old age, though not in the way described by the materialists. We are already faced with some of the signs of the earth's old age. Therefore, the entire human race has been weakened in regard to the driving force that moves the food substances through the body. So what part of the population is going to be the first to disappear from the earth? Dark people can last longer, for they possess greater driving force; blonds have less and become extinct sooner. The earth is indeed already into its old age. The gentleman who asked the question pointed out that there are fewer blonds around than in his youth. Because the earth has less vitality, only the black and brown peoples attain sufficient driving force; blonds and blue-eyed people are already marked for extinction because they can no longer drive nourishment with the necessary force through their bodies.

We can say that fair people were actually always weaker physically and that they were only mentally stronger. In former times many people were blond, but they were strong in spirit and knew much of what many today can no longer know. This is why I called your attention to how much people knew in olden days. Look at ancient India, five thousand years before the birth of Christ. The original inhabitants were black; they were quite dark. Then people with blond hair migrated from the north to the south. The Brahmans descended from those who were especially revered, the fair Brahmans. In time, however, blondness will disappear because the human race is becoming weaker. In the end, only brown- and black-haired people will be able to survive if nothing is done to keep them from being bound to matter. The stronger the body's forces, the weaker the soul's. When fair people become extinct, the human race will face the danger of becoming dense if a spiritual science like anthroposophy is not accepted. Anthroposophy does not have to take the body into consideration but can bring forth intelligence from spiritual investigation itself.

You see, when we really study science and history, we must conclude that if people become increasingly strong, they will also become increasingly stupid. If the blonds and blue-eyed people die out, the human race will become increasingly dense if men do not arrive at a form of intelligence that is independent of blondness. Blond hair actually bestows intelligence. In the case of fair people, less nourishment is driven into the eyes and hair; it remains instead in the brain and endows it with intelligence. Brown- and dark-haired people drive the substances into their eyes and hair that the fair people retain in their brains. They then become materialistic and observe only what can immediately be seen. Spiritual science must compensate for this; we must have a spiritual science to the same degree that humanity loses its intelligence along with its fair people. We have not built the Goetheanum as a joke, for no reason at all; we have built it because we anticipated what would happen to the human race if there were not spiritual compensation for what will disappear from the natural world. The matter is so serious that we can say that mankind on this earth must once again attain something fruitful, though in a different form from what was produced in ancient times. It is indeed true that the more the fair individuals die out the more will the instinctive wisdom of humans vanish. Human beings are becoming denser, and they can regain a new wisdom only if they do not have to depend on their bodies, but possess, instead, a true spiritual science. It is really so, and if people today want to laugh about it, let them. But then they have always laughed about things that have brought about some great change.

...

You can understand a phenomenon like the gradual extinction of blonds if you comprehend how nourishing substances penetrate into both the eyes and hair, the colouring of which is closely related.

If you go to Milan, you will find that the head of the lion there is depicted in such a way that its mane, that is, the largest accumulation of hair the lion possesses, looks like rays of light. This rendering is based on an ancient wisdom in which it was known that both the eyes and hair are related to light and its rays.

Hair is indeed like plants, which are placed in the ground and whose growth is subject to light. If light is unable to draw the nourishing substances all the way into the hair, it remains blond. If a person is more closely tied to matter, the food substances penetrate the hair completely and counteract the light; then he gets black hair. Sages of old were still aware of this, just as were men even a few centuries ago. Thus, they did not depict the lion's mane as being curly but instead they gave it a radiating, straight form, as if the sun had placed its beams right into the lion's head. It is most interesting to observe such things.

1924-02-02-GA352

from elephants

1950-12-17– EP - Ehrenfried Pfeiffer

Dr. Steiner said that in older times the spiritual experiences took place mainly through the lung. In the lung man took the other world into himself, so that God could be a concrete concept for him. This relationship ceased in the 19th century.

Since the 19th century man no longer experiences the forces of God through breathing in. So he finds in matter a God-forsaken world. Dr. Steiner added that since the 19th century man experiences something of the spiritual world through the kidney. The kidney does not experience the outer world directly, but by way of the inner world. Dr. Steiner once called the kidney the brain of the metabolic system. If the kidney is disturbed, the retina of the eye is disturbed, and also we get high blood pressure. High blood pressure occurs when the astral is drawn too much into the blood system. This process can be influenced by medicines, but medicines cannot help the underlying spiritual and regenerative forces that are needed. So it is a good idea to learn how to behave so that we do not tax our kidneys too much.

Rudolf Steiner said that through our kidneys we perceive only our own self-created spiritual world. Therefore kidney-ideas, if not spiritualized, are ideas full of fear, ideas of incompatibility, ideas of clairvoyance. If we trust the kidney without learning about the etheric heart, the regulator, we learn only about atomic destruction of Man and the world.

If the kidney does not purify the blood, it means an accumulated burden on the heart. Hence a proper diet, with not too much sugar, etc., is important. But you meet people who keep to a proper diet and follow the book in everything and still look worn out, passive and the like. This condition is caused, not by diet, but by lack of spiritual activity. This is the disease which eventually breaks down the heart. The blood is affected not only by external impressions but by every emotion, fear, joy, etc. Adrenalin production is changed by fear and rage. It is now recognized that short-tempered persons have their adrenalin function affected by this condi-tion. Joy in turn has other effects, and our blood is influenced if, for instance, we are not able to feel joy when someone speaks objectively well of us or others. Moral effects work on the contraction and expansion of the capillary vessels, and the emotional, moral, soul life influences the composition of the blood.

Discussion

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References and further reading